Shoppers turn to farm shops amid supermarket scandals
Farm shops have boomed over the past decade, as middle-class UK shoppers have become suspicious of supermarkets following a number of food safety scares. Once seen as quaint and overpriced, farm shops are now the fastest growing part of the UK meat-selling industry.
Farm shops have boomed over the past decade, as middle-class shoppers have become suspicious of supermarkets following a number of food safety scares.
Once seen as quaint and overpriced, farm shops are now the fastest growing part of the meat-selling industry, according to the UK Guild of Butchers. The number of farm shops in the UK has nearly tripled from just 1,200 in 2004 to around 3,500 today.
Shoppers are also starting to turn to online farm shops like Farmdrop, which uses a mobile app to link local producers and customers directly, and deliver groceries to their door. It comes as the amount of meat and fish sold in UK supermarkets saw a 1.8 per cent decline over the past year to August, Kantar Worldpanel data shows.
Growing tastes for quality producers and organic food that can be traced to a local source is thought to have helped driven shoppers away from supermarket chains over the period.
Consumer trust in retail giants has been dented by food scandals such as the horse-meat scandal and recent revelations over “dirty” practices at Britain’s biggest chicken factory.
Michael Richardson, of the AHDB, said: “Consumers are increasingly looking for reassurance on the provenance and quality of what they buy and that it has come from somewhere as local as possible.
“Farm shops and independent butchers offer that. It is not just about meat. As soon as you enter a farm shop, it offers an array of products that complement the meat offering.
“They are also attracting younger shoppers by offering a meal solution to suit the needs of today’s busy lifestyle.”
Four in ten Brits (39 per cent) have been to a farm shop in the past 12 months and 47 per cent intend to visit one in the future, said a poll of 2,000 shoppers for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
Consumers in the south east and south west of England are the most likely to go to farm shops – 48 per cent from each region have visited in the past year, compared to just 26 per cent from the north east.
By Katie Morley